Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:16-24 (ESV)
He had clearly hit a nerve. The shame of her brokenness exposed, the woman at the well decided to change the subject to religious practices and rituals. Jesus, however, would not be swayed. He responded to her statements by describing what worship in His Father’s Kingdom really looked like. It involved the heart, the very thing she was trying to protect, the very thing she was trying to hide.
Real worship takes place in unseen places.
What do you think of when you think of worship? Normally, we think of the outward expressions we see in our Sunday gatherings. The problem is that we can hide behind outward expressions. We can sing to God with our walls up. We can raise our hands, shed tears and even dance, yet we can leave unchanged. We must worship in spirit and truth; this happens on the inside. For the remainder of this post, I’ll address what it means to worship God in spirit; the next post will cover the “truth” aspect of this concept.
What does it mean to worship God in spirit?
Contrary to common interpretation, I don’t believe that worshipping in the spirit has anything to do with enthusiasm. The mind, the will, and emotions are connected to the part of humanity we call the soul. The physical part of man we call the body. The spirit is that part of us that was created to navigate the spiritual realm. In their book The Sword of Submission, authors Dan and Jody Mayhew write that man was originally created to have access to both the physical and spiritual realm. When the fall happened, man’s connection to the heavenly places was broken.
When Jesus broke the curse of sin, that access was restored as our spirit is joined to the Holy Spirit. He takes that which is from God and discloses it to us (John 16:14). He empowers us to worship (Isaiah 57:19). He leads us into all truth (John 16:13). We as Christians have the privilege of becoming intimately acquainted with the very heart of God. It’s from this place that we’re called to worship.
So what does it look like to worship God in spirit? First and foremost it means to be a Christ Follower. Secondly, it means letting the Holy Spirit lead our lives. Our physical appetites, our mind, our will, and emotions are in submission to Him. When He leads our lives, He leads our worship.
Do you have a relationship with Jesus?
Are you submitted to the leading of the Holy Spirit?
Read Unseen – Part 1